Steve Nashis 39 years old. It's not that it's incredibly unusual for a player that's 39 to still be playing in the NBA. It's just not that common for a 39-year-old to be starting and considered one of the key players on a roster.
So in order for the Lakers to get the most they can out of Nash, they're going to have to take care of him. And that means periodic rest. Via ESPN LA:
With the Los Angeles Lakers halfway through their eight-game preseason schedule following Thursday's 104-86 loss to the Sacramento Kings, and with Steve Nash having played only 52 total minutes so far, Lakers coach Mike D'Antoni admitted his 39-year-old point guard could miss playing time all season.
"I'm not concerned," D'Antoni said when asked about Nash playing just nine minutes against the Kings before sitting out with a sore left ankle. "I think this will happen off and on all year, but he's going to give you a good season and good stuff. We have to take care of him."
D'Antoni added that Nash had difficulty getting his ankle loose during warm-ups and the two of them decided to end his night early.
Nash is the oldest player in the league and will turn 40 in February. This ankle injury is something new, and Nash says he probably suffered it in September when the team was doing voluntary workouts.
"We'll see," Nash said about D'Antoni's comments. "I'm hoping. Because [the ankle] has gotten better. At the start of camp, it wasn't very good at all, and through camp it did improve. I think [Thursday] was more of an unfortunate day than a real problem. It could linger, but I don't expect that to be the case. I'm hoping that through this month we can try to put it behind me. It's kind of a little bit of a dance because I need this time to prepare, but at the same time, you obviously don't want to pound the ankle to where I'm not able to function."
The Lakers' 2012-13 season was derailed in large part because of injuries, but that's the risk you take when you build a roster around older players. Their bodies are more vulnerable to injury and keeping them healthy and on the floor is a challenge.
So D'Antoni is trying to get out in front of it a little bit with preventative measures. Either way, it means Steve Nash is going to miss some games, which really isn't a good thing for the Lakers.